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How Women Will Fix the World

December 12, 2019, 9:43 PM UTC

This is the web version of raceAhead, Fortune’s daily newsletter on race, culture, and inclusive leadership. To get it delivered daily to your inbox, sign up here.

Over the past two days, there was laughter and tears, excellent career advice, and a collective commitment to fix a broken world at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next Gen Summit in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

As always, the members of the Next Gen community shared rich insights from their experiences—learn to overcome imposter syndrome here, get yourself on a board here, perfect that pitch here—but also tackled some of the seemingly intractable burdens that plague individuals and society.

Don’t miss this extraordinary discussion on opioid abuse disorder, an issue that resonated deeply with the audience. From Nicole Goodkind’s coverage:

“‘If someone had lung disease or heart disease, we’d be running 5Ks and putting their faces on T-shirts and raising money and posting on Facebook. But if someone has chronic addiction, you don’t want to say why that person is out of the office,’ said Laura Hutfless, co-founder of FlyteVu, an entertainment marketing agency. Hutfless’s partner struggled with an opioid addiction that stemmed from trauma he experienced as a survivor of 1999’s Columbine High School shooting. He passed away this year.

‘For me, walking in as a company leader and sharing my story and making a safe place for that, I found out about so many people in my company that were struggling in different ways,’ she said. ‘And it’s now not a taboo topic.

In response, Hutfless rolled out company-wide wellness and mental health programs: ‘As a leader at your company, it’s important to normalize this.‘”

And finally, in a lively and personal town hall, Next Gen’ers shared their best ideas for making sure that all people were fully represented in their workplaces and society, and explored how we could come together as part of a truly intersectional women’s network.

Vivianne Castillo, senior design researcher at Salesforce, Samantha Rapoport, senior director of football development for the NFL, and Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, kicked off the conversation.

Stay tuned for Fortune coverage on that one.

While everyone felt they had a piece of the inclusion puzzle—we talked about prison reform, Black maternal health, mentoring, and mental health—the common theme that bubbled up from the room focused on restoring the humanity of the people who are systematically excluded at work and in the world, usually by design.

I am leaving Laguna Niguel with a hopeful heart and a long list of new ideas. Stay tuned.

Ellen McGirt


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On Point

Colin Kaepernick NFL web version
Colin Kaepernick looks on during his NFL workout on Nov. 16, 2019, in Riverdale, Ga.
Carmen Mandato—Getty Images

NFL: “We’ve moved on” from Colin Kaepernick NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was talking about something else entirely when a reporter asked him about the sidelined quarterback’s recent workout. These are the words he said: "This was... about creating an opportunity, which Colin's representatives came out in early October and we created that opportunity. It was a unique opportunity—an incredible opportunity and he chose not to take it. I understand that. And we've moved on here." I’ll be collecting the best analyses of these words I can find and will pass them right along to you.

The PGA tackles data-driven diversity with Jopwell Jopwell, the career platform for Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals, is a longtime raceAhead favorite, so this alliance with the PGA of America is particularly noteworthy. The PGA, like many enterprises, was struggling with their diversity efforts while facing an additional hurdle. “Golf is often viewed as a primarily white sport, which makes it difficult to recruit from underrepresented communities,” says Sandy Cross, the PGA’s chief people officer, and Porter Braswell, the CEO and co-founder of Jopwell, in this co-bylined piece. Jopwell conducted a survey of people from their communities with a self-identified interest in sport or finance and found that while most had no entry or real awareness of the sport, most seemed to think a job in golf would be interesting. They used that data to make a new plan to better attract prospective candidates of color. Here’s the kicker: “Understand who the key stakeholders for decision-making in the hiring process are and secure buy-in for diversity recruitment from the top using data.”

If you don’t like feeling unalloyed joy, please skip the new trailer for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights film I promise, it will give you an instant burst of happiness. Really. Even this interview with John M. Chu, the film’s director, will make you smile. As a Broadway musical, In The Heights, shared the loves and losses of people living in a mostly Latin American neighborhood that was facing erasure through gentrification. That was 2005. The film, set today, brings the added element of reflection. “Washington Heights is past gentrification. It's happened,” says Chu, who directed Crazy Rich Asians.“It's more about, ‘The change happened, so what are the most important things to pass forward?’ Our ancestors came here with bags in their hands. So what are we putting in our bags to pass on to our kids?”
Empire Online

On Background

fun time RA blurb web version
Chopper, a golden retriever, pauses for a moment to take in the view.
J. Lawler Duggan—The Washington Post via Getty Images

Science: Play first, play hard, play now This is the sage advice from Ed O’Brien, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. His lab conducted a series of surveys exploring people’s attitudes toward their preferred timing of leisure activities, particularly if they had other responsibilities looming, like an exam or deadline. People generally opt to finish work first, believing that they won’t enjoy themselves if they’ve got important work yet unfinished. Turns out, most people find leisure activities rewarding no matter when they’re scheduled. “Our findings suggest we may be over-worrying and over-working for future rewards that could be just as pleasurable in the present,” he says. “This is a problem, because, among other benefits, leisure improves our work,” he says. Professor O’Brien is clearly a very smart man. And he’s probably outside right now, playing with a Frisbee and a golden retriever. What are you doing?

Here’s how to call in sick for mental health reasons For most people, it’s still a fraught exercise, how much to disclose about how we really feel. Abeni Jones, an artist, writer, and educator who specializes in race, gender, disability, and race, offers some excellent advice. It’s best to tell the truth, but briefly. “All they really need to know is that you’re going to miss work because you’re ‘not feeling well’ and when they can expect you back,” says Jones. To avoid disclosing too much, you can say, “I have an ADA-protected condition.” And if you’d like to advocate for changes in mental health-related policies in your firm, try making this case: Jones reports that the World Health Organization has shown that every dollar put into supporting employee mental health is returned fourfold in productivity.
Fast Company

A new picture book helps children understand menstruation the Andean way Tribu de Mujeres was written by Ecuadorian academic, menstrual educator, and author Paulina Vásquez Quirola and illustrated by José Rafael Delgado. The story toggles between scenes of real life and dream states, in which a young girl named Tamia is connected with ancestral wisdom to help her understand her own changing body and the cyclic nature of life. In this fascinating interview, Quirola discusses the period shaming that occurs in Western cultures and why she chose to contrast the two ways of thinking. “There are cultures where menstruation is lived differently, so the body is undoubtedly perceived differently across societies and time periods,” she says. Menstruation rituals performed in Indigenous societies help people transition and grow. “They are important on social and psychological levels because they prepare a person to accept a change in a more organic way and accompanied by community.”

Tamara El-Waylly helps write and produce raceAhead.


Chanel Miller Next Gen 2019
'Know My Name' author Chanel Miller.
Stuart Isett—Fortune

"Keeping a secret can be really isolating, especially when 18 million people can discuss your secret but you can’t. I felt like I was changing, I was on this whole transformative narrative arc, and the way people perceive me felt outdated—like they were identifying with my past self."

Chanel Miller